Presenters

Daniel Beckwith

International Conductor

Daniel Beckwith has conducted  major opera houses throughout North America and Europe. With a repertoire that spans the 17th through the 20th centuries, he has been hailed as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation.

Daniel Beckwith’s conducting career began in 1991 in an all-Mozart concert with Virginia’s Norfolk Symphony. Only a year later, Houston Opera invited him to conduct Gretry’s rarely performed Zémire et Azor. Many important engagements followed, notably Canadian Opera Company [Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea], Glimmerglass Opera Festival [Rossini’s Le Comte Ory], The Lyric Opera of Chicago [Così fan tutte], Edmonton Opera [G.F. Handel’s Guilio Cesare], and The Opera Theatre of St. Louis [Haydn’s Armida].

Daniel Beckwith served as assistant to James Levine for six seasons at the Metropolitan Opera and was given his conducting debut with Don Giovanni in 1995 after James Levine observed his conducting of a stage rehearsal. On the strength of these performances, Daniel Beckwith was engaged for several important debuts conducting the works of George Frideric Handel, both nationally [Serse, Seattle Opera] and internationally [Rinaldo, Grand Theâtre du Genève, Theodora, The Glyndebourne Festival].

The operas of Mozart have figured prominently in Daniel Beckwith’s career. His return engagement to the Metropolitan, as well as his San Francisco Opera and Portland Opera debuts was with Don Giovanni; Vancouver, Baltimore, Edmonton and Arizona opera companies have all heard his performances of Le Nozze di Figaro. His Australian opera debut in 1998 was with another personal favorite, La Clemenza di Tito. His return engagement to the Seattle Opera and his debut with the Washington Opera was with Die Zauberflöte.

Daniel Beckwith’s love of, and affinity for, the Baroque, early classical, and the bel canto repertory has given him the opportunity to perform many of the cornerstone operas of these varying periods: Orphée et Euridice [Utah Opera], Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto [Wolftrap Opera Festival]; Lucia di Lammermoor [Cincinnati Opera], Il Barbiere di Siviglia [UK’s Opera North, Florida Grand Opera, Wolftrap Opera Festival], L’Italiana in Algeri [Cleveland Opera, Opera Columbus, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey], and G.F. Handel’s Oreste [The Juilliard School and Spoleto Festival, Italy]. The vehicle of his April 2000 New York City Opera debut was a new production of Rameau’s Platée which featured the Mark Morris Dance Group.

With an increasingly diverse repertory, Daniel Beckwith has had many return engagements with The New York City Opera [Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, The Rape of Lucretia, G.F. Handel’s Alcina, revival of Platée], The Washington Opera [The Crucible], The Cincinnati Opera [Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette], Calgary Opera, [Susannah, Don Pasquale], Canadian Opera Company [Mozart’s Il Re Pastore], Edmonton Opera [The Rape of Lucretia, Turandot], Wolftrap Opera Festival [Falstaff, Die Entführung aus dem Serail]. From 1999 to 2001, he was Artistic Director of the Lake George Opera Festival, during which time he conducted performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Don Govanni, Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, Il Ré Pastore and Struass’ Ariadne auf Naxos.

His concert appearances have included performances with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society in a program of J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel and the world premiere of Dan Welcher’s JFK: the Voice of Peace; an all-Handel concert with the Juilliard Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall; orchestral and vocal repertory from Mozart to Wagner with Metropolitan Opera soprano Youngok Shin at the LG Arts Center in Seoul, South Korea. He made his debut with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque in performances of G.F. Handel’s Israel in Egypt. A return to Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival featured mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore in a concert of Bel Canto rarities; his first appearance at Spain’s Santander Festival with soprano Renée Fleming included orchestral and vocal repertory drawn from the 17th to 20th centuries. In celebration of the Mozart year, Daniel Beckwith conducted an all-Mozart orchestral concert for the Princeton Festival. A December concert tour with Renée Fleming included debuts with the Hartford Symphony and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall. Future engagements include a return to Calgary opera for Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

In demand as a partner in recital, Daniel Beckwith has appeared in the USA and Europe accompanying artists such as Renée Fleming, Benita Valente, Carol Vaness, Nancy Gustafson, Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, Susanne Mentzer, Jerry Hadley, Ben Heppner, Richard Leech, Nathan Gunn and Samuel Ramey. His television credits [with Renée Fleming] include Good Morning America, The View, Martha Stewart Living.

Zoe Vandermeer

Dramatic Coloratura Soprano,

Lyra New York Artistic Director

Zoe Vandermeer is on the Roster of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and performs internationally.  

'Artist of genius...remarkable dramatic skills' - Diari de Balears, Spain

'Electrifying' - Halifax Herald Nova Scotia

'Was astonishing when she came out and accompanied her own singing on harpsichord the music of Monteverdi.' - San Francisco Chronicle

A prize-winning graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Ms. Vandermeer specializes in the Baroque, Classical and Bel Canto repertoire as a soloist in opera, oratorio and concert hall.  She performs nationally and internationally, and enjoyed her Carnegie Hall Debut in 2014.   Her recording 'Angel's Wine, the Songs of John Dowland' was favorably reviewed by the UK Lute Society Journal.   Ms. Vandermeer has recorded for Koch International and has two upcoming Baroque and Bel Canto CD releases with a well known American Classical label.  She has been a featured guest on radio stations in Scotland, California, and Indiana, and articles about her work can be found in Classical Singer Magazine and the Swiss journal Harpa.   In addition to her artistic endeavors, she provides masterclasses, consultations, and intensive vocal training for opera singers in New York City, Hartford, and online.   Ms. Vandermeer's most influential voice teachers include Arthur Levy, Olivia Stapp (Met, La Scala, Paris Opera), Natalie Bodanya (Met, trained with Marcella Sembrich), and with renowned conductors, stage directors and vocal coaches in London, Scotland, New York City, and San Francisco.

Michael Fennelly

Pianist, Conductor

Praised as a pianist with “flair and energy” (The New York Times), Michael Fennelly's recordings include The Legend

of Faust: Part One, Debut, and Grand Tour.

This season he is the soloist with the National Chorale in his own arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue for solo piano, orchestra, and symphonic chorus at Lincoln Center. He conducts a new opera From My Mother's Mother by Jeeyoung Kim for the Korean Cultural Center, NYC, and performs in concert with Renée Fleming and Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess. Last season Michael Fennelly established the Athena Music Foundation and toured China, Macau, and Hong Kong with several rising opera stars of the Metropolitan Opera. He performed in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, and throughout the US in concert, and was the soloist and premiered his choral arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra.

In 2014-2015 Michael Fennelly was the music director for La Cenerentola with New York City Opera, performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic conducted by JoAnn Falletta in the Moross Symphony no. 1, and was the music director for La traviata and appeared in The Paris Salon with the Berkshire Theater Festival. He collaborated with conductor Alan Gilbert on Gloria - A Pig Tale with the New York Philharmonic, as well as several productions with Gotham Opera. Michael Fennelly conducted Madama Butterfly with Amore Opera, and was the music director and pianist for Porgy and Bess with the Tillis Center for the Performing Arts in Long Island.   

Michael Fennelly has the distinction of being named a Bösendorfer Artist, and represented the US on a tour of Japan for the State Department. He has performed in many of the world's great concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall), Munich’s Prinzregenten Theatre, and Berlin’s Komische Oper.  His recitals have been broadcast on WQXR (New York City) and NDR Radio (Germany).  On film, he appeared as the young Harry Truman (who initially trained to become a concert pianist) for PBS’ American Experience. 

A versatile and remarkable musician, Michael Fennelly played the Beethoven Choral Fantasy and Mozart's two piano concerto K.365 with the Saddleback Master Chorale, performed with the Talich Quartet in the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, Op.57, and conducted Lucia di Lammermoor in concert at Carnegie Hall. He was the head coach/pianist for Lyric Opera Virginia's production of La traviata, Opera Grand Rapid's La bohème, and the Buck Hill-Skytop Festival's production of La traviata. He assisted in several productions with Gotham Opera and in the premiere of John Musto's The Inspector with Wolf Trap Opera.  In the 2011-2012 season Michael Fennelly conducted Eric Salzman's Big Jim and the Small Time Investors and Arlene Sierra's Faustine with the Center for Contemporary Opera, as well as many operas with Lyric Opera New York. He was the assistant conductor for Il barbiere di Siviglia and The King and I with Ash Lawn Opera.   

The Californian made his first concerto appearance at age ten, and subsequently performed with many orchestras throughout California, including the Orange County Philharmonic, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, Santa Clara Symphony and the South Coast Symphony Orchestra. While still in high school, he was flown to New York as a last-minute replacement for a soloist with the New York Virtuosi Orchestra, and performed Brahms’ First Piano Concerto in Germany.  He has performed concertos with the Manhattan Symphony and with the Barge Festival, and has participated in many world premieres, including Blitzstein’s Cain for the American Composers Alliance.

 

Michael Fennelly was the United States winner of the Horowitz Competition, and made his Carnegie Hall solo recital debut as winner of the Artist International Competition.  He was a prize-winner of the Young Artist Peninsula Music Festival, and the Young Keyboard Artist Association.  He has performed in Moscow Conservatory’s International Chopin Symposium, New York’s Schoenberg Music Festival, and Italy’s Wilhelm Kempff Beethoven Seminar, and in master classes under John O’Connor, Richard Goode, and Abbey Simon.

 

Michael Fennelly's early piano teachers were Trula Whelan and Earl Voorhies in California. He attended the Eastman School of Music as a pupil of Dr. Nelita True, and was awarded the prestigious Performer’s Certificate.  He continued his Masters and Doctoral studies with Byron Janis and Dr. Marc Silverman at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received the school’s special prize for chamber music and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a dissertation on Metric Structure.  

Dr. Fennelly was a staff pianist and coach for several years with The Juilliard School. He instituted a chamber music program and worked with Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival, and has performed recitals with members of the New York Philharmonic and soloists from the Metropolitan Opera.  Michael Fennelly has performed for the Aristotle Onassis Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Opera Index Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Allied Tours, Joy in Singing, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. 

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